Your prisoner may be eligible to a federal Tax Refund

Every prisoner that works is entitled to a tax refund, according to the IRS:



Posted 11/14/03:

I called the I.R.S. myself this morning and was told that anyone earning a wage of any kind can file. She said she deals with a C.P.A. that deals strictly with prisoners. She said the only thing is that if our guys do not receive a W-2 form from the prison it would be late 2004 before the I.R.S. receives their income information. And yes she said it is legal for them to file up to 2 years back taxes. Hope that helps someone.

Stay Strong,


a.k.a Bratt  


Rain, a dear friend, had her son try to explain how it’s done:


Use the 1040EZ form. Where it asks who you work for, he put “The Cal Department of Corrections as an inmate porter”.

He wrote a letter stating that the prison would not give them a W-2 form or the 1044 form...

He also told them that he was an inmate and wanted to know if he was entitled for a refund...

Now you have to figure out how many hours you worked for the year... times this by what ever the minimum wage is in your state, for California its $6.75, then you have to subtract 15 %, (because that is what they pay the inmate) the prison keeps the rest of that $6.75.


Form 4852 has to be used because the inmate does not have a W2 form....its a substitution form...

All I know is Jimmy had to have this attached to his 1040EZ along with his letter stating he is a inmate...


After the form was done he had it sent certified to the IRS with his letter attached...


He also said when you send a certified letter, a guard has to watch you put your papers in an envelope and signs it so it can be sealed right in front of the guard and the prisoner.



Rain’s son had the check sent to his sister. He received $700 for 2001 and is expecting $1400 for 2002.


More instructions about the completion of the 1040EZ form:


Posted 11/14/03:


This is what they are talking about on the 1040EZ form. 

All the inmate has to do is fill out the form to the point where it says:
Do you want the IRS to figure your taxes from here,
and they will figure it and send the check.  It is a
simple process.



Posted 11/14/03:

Special Instructions for Clergy, Prison Inmates, and Deferred Compensation Plans

Use the following special instructions if one of the following situations applies to you.

Inmates.   If you were an inmate in a penal institution and the total on line 7 (Form 1040 or Form 1040A) or line 1 (Form 1040EZ) includes an amount paid to you for work you performed while an inmate, print PRI and the amount paid on the dotted line next to line 7 (Form 1040), in the space to the left of line 7 (Form 1040A), or in the space to the right of the words W-2 form(s) on line 1 (Form 1040EZ).




Things to remember:

 Earnings while an inmate.   Amounts received for work performed while an inmate in a penal institution are not earned income when figuring the earned income credit (EIC). This includes amounts received through a work release program or while in a halfway house.

1040EZ forms can be downloaded here:

(Right click on the link and select “Open in New Window”)